Which way will the axe fall?

New team dynamics cause uncertainty regarding rivalry game

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Which way will the axe fall?

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Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon

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Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon

Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon

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Story by Caden Rainwater, sports editor

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As the day approaches when our football players will storm Razorback stadium with high hopes and built-up determination, both schools ponder on whether their team will walk off the field with spirits and helmets raised high above their heads. 

On Friday night, the Tigers will take on the Arkansas High Razorbacks at their home field after coming off their first loss of the season to the Pflugerville Hendrickson Hawks. 

Every year this rivalry game is highly anticipated by players and fans of both teams, this excitement can be largely attributed to how evenly matched the two teams are.

Last year the Tigers, led by graduate Coltin Clack, defeated the Razorbacks 43-35. This win by the Tigers was primarily due to several crucial players that have since graduated, including quarterback Clack, and receivers Myles Washington and Mason Jones. Replacing these key members of the offense for the upcoming season was difficult, making the majority of the new starters non-seniors.

A daunting task for the coaching staff was determining who would replace Clack as the starting quarterback. After weeks of practice, the coaches decided to transition junior Rian Cellars from wide receiver to quarterback, because of his experience in the position. 

Long hours of practice for the improving team seemed vital as they prepared to go head-to-head against the Hawks, who opened their season last year by crushing the Tigers 56-7. Although the Tigers didn’t come out on top, their 49 point deficit from last year drastically improved to a mere 14 point deficit with a final score of  21-7. 

After the end of the 2017 season, the Tigers lost their star kicker, Logan Snell. The Tigers’ extra teams coaching staff scrambled to find a promising new kicker and fill the hole created by Snell’s graduation. Coaches requested soccer players to try out for the open position in a last effort to find a replacement. The team has two starting kickers for the 2019 season. This addition will be a necessary improvement as last year sophomore Oscar Hernandez was injured in an attempted extra point against the hogs. The addition of two solid kickers is a very pleasant improvement to the solidity of the team for the 2019 season.

Comparably, the starting quarterbacks on each side of the state line are new-to-the-job juniors still working on raising their completion ratings and learning more complex play routes.

Returning to the varsity squad as kick returners, seniors Trakeci Cooper and Kobe Webster have been leaders and key scorers on varsity since their sophomore year. There are high expectations from and for both players, making kick-off the play to watch in Friday’s game. 

Considering the improvement against the Pflugerville Hendrickson Hawks Friday night and the strengths spread out among the Tiger offense and defense, the Tigers have a strong advantage for the Battle of the Axe

This will be the 105th battle between the two teams and there is a limited number of student tickets available. Students are encouraged to purchase tickets early if they want to support Texas High Tigers on Friday night as they fight to defend their possession of the axe.

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